The darkest place is always underneath the lamp.
Chinese Proverb
What not to say

By Mark Vernon
Orion Books
ISBN 9780753824320
Published in August 2008

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Philosophy for tricky moments at work

How to put your foot in it

What not to say

Everyone has such moments: 'I didn't know what to say' times when you are silenced - overwhelmed with embarrassment - because someone confronts you with a situation, and you have no idea how to respond. And the worst thing is - you then say the wrong thing.

What Not To Say takes those situations, unpacks them with philosophy, and explores the dos and don'ts. Why philosophy? Because philosophy has always been gripped by questions of life. It was Socrates who first raised the question of how to live. He launched a tradition that sees life not as a problem to be solved, but as an art.

Covering areas such as friendship, love, politics and religion, What Not To Say is witty and thought-provoking, and will enable readers to speak more truthfully in difficult situations, talk about personal problems in a wider perspective and gain greater clarity when discussing what to do in the future.


'In this honest book, care is not about duty or abiding by moral codes, but treating others with integrity: this is the life lived according to love… His underlying approach is close to Lacan's ethics of psychoanalysis: don't treat others instrumentally, Vernon implies, offering a welcome counterpoint to today's New Age treatment of others as a means of self-realization.’
Catherine Humble, TLS